Authorities’ resistance disrupting DAP’s bid to aid connectivity in Sarawak outskirts
DAP's project to help Sarawakian communities in need of basic infrastructure aids has begun drawing resistance from authorities in the state, disrupting the ambitious Impian Sarawak programme which the party believes has been successful since it was launched two years ago.
Recently, their attempts to build a gravity feed to enable water access to a remote school in Lawas was met with objection from the district's education department officials.
But thanks to the persistence of the head of the school's parents and teachers association (PTA), Impian Sarawak saw the project through after the former wrote in to education department officials demanding they undertake the project if they do not want Impian Sarawak to be involved.
SK Long Sukang did not have water connectivity ever since a small landslide halted its construction, forcing students to study in makeshift classes in the boarding building.
The rebuilding of the school, highlighted in the Auditor General's report in 2012, was supposed to be completed in 2013, but remains abandoned until today.
With ten volunteers, Impian Sarawak managed to ensure water connectivity for the school at the cost of RM40,000, only to find that there are two other schools within the vicinity of Sarawak's interiors suffering from similar problems.
"We started Impian Sarawak in September 2013, and to date, we had more than 240 volunteers, and we have helped more than 900 families," said Tony Pua, DAP's national publicity secretary and one of the project's main proponents.
They have undertaken 15 water projects, at least two completed road projects, and also built jetties, and bridges to connect many villages which are cut off from the rest of Sarawak due to their locations.
Similarly, an attempt to hold a medical camp in a church in Betong also met with resistance from a longhouse chief there, who asked the church not to play host to the medical camp.
But Impian Sarawak is going ahead with the relocated medical camp in Betong.
"We are not saying that only we must be doing these things. If the government and authorities want to do this, they can go ahead. All we want is for the people of Sarawak to get these amenities," Pua said at a press conference at DAP headquarters today.
Impian Sarawak, along with Impian Sabah, is a community project meant to realise Pakatan Rakyat's foray into the Sabah and Sarawak heartlands, which are often seen as strong Barisan Nasional strongholds.
The project started two years ago, and is now expanding further ahead of Sarawak's state elections due in 2016.
This includes education and learning camps for the students, as the project diversifies into health and education, apart from infrastructure building.
The project has at least 10 other projects lined up in next few months towards the end of 2015, and is now asking for funds from the public to help undertake the many initiatives in the pipeline.
This includes attempting to build a 8km-long gravity feed for another remote school in Lawas, which has not had water for the past 10 years.
The project needs funds up to RM500,000 to complete these upcoming projects, and is urging the people to make a RM50 donation, calling it a donation to "Ubah Sarawak".
Those interested can donate to Impian Malaysia/s Maybank account number at 514196659143.